Tag Archive | yr20

Of the Forest

This is rix_Scaedu‘s commissioned continuation of In the Forest and Through the Forest.

Keita made her way down to the ground, landing with a thump in front of her pursuer. “Do you know what happens to people who chase me deep into the forest I live in?”

Her voice sounded hoarse to her. She’d meant it to sound intimidating, although the truth of the matter was that mostly she spooked them off or they got lost.

Solomon raised his eyebrows. “I imagine that you tend to discourage them. Keita, if it was within my power to leave you here, I would. It’s clear you’re happy here. More than that, it’s clear that, for the moment, at least, you’re safe here.”

“What do you mean, ‘for the moment?’” She glowered at him. “I survived winter. I survived creepy monsters screaming overhead. Whatever that was, the dragon apocalypse or something. I survived the freaking army making a base in my backyard.”

“It’s impressive. Am I correct in guessing you ran away before the, ah, ‘dragon apocalypse?’”

“What, do you have a better name? Dragons, monsters, things go weird, next thing I know the army’s stomping through.”

“Well.” He sat down on a nearby log as if he was in someone’s living room. “I hope you don’t mind if I sit down?”

“Free country.” She shrugged. “Just don’t expect me to bring you tea and crumpets or anything.”

He chuckled dryly. “I’m not British. And I’m intruding in your home, Keita; all I can hope is that you’ll listen to me. I don’t have the right to expect anything.”

She plopped herself down on another branch, well out of arm’s reach. “I don’t want to go anywhere with you.”

“I’m getting that impression. It’s unfortunate, but I think Addergoole could help you out.”

“Help me with what? Unless they were going to keep the occasional creep off her back or help her rig up something for warmth in the middle of winter, she didn’t need them. She had everything she needed in her forest.

“Well, hrrm. Did you see many of the creatures that were flying around during the ‘dragon apocalypse?’”

“Saw a bit. Some of ‘em looked a bit human; the rest looked like monsters. Why? Are they good eating?”

He shuddered. “They’re sentient beings, on part with humans, so I’m rather glad you don’t already know if they’re tasty or not.”

“I’m not stupid enough to try to take down a magical creature from another dimension.” She shook her head at him. “What do you think I am?”

He took a breath. “A magical creature from this dimension.”

Keita snorted. “Right. You’re crazier than the drugged-up idiots that wander through here sometimes thinking that they saw God.”

“They may have. A god, at least.” He looked far too serious. “Keita, what you call the ‘dragon apocalypse’ really was, for all intents and purposes, an apocalypse. The end of the world as we know it. Billions of people died, some at the hands of the military, some at the hands of the invaders – creatures that are, indeed, magical and from another dimension, or at least another world – and some of starvation and disease. It has been a hard couple years for the world, and I think it’s possible you may have had it easier than many, tucked away here in this forest.”

“And so, what, you want me to leave now?”

“It is my job to get you to come with me. That is a different matter than ‘want’.”

That sounded strange. She tilted her head and looked at him. “Someone sent you. But you don’t think it’s a good idea?”

“Someone sent me,” he confirmed. “Addergoole and its Director. And I think Addergoole could teach you a lot.” He looked around the forest. “It can teach you more about the plants and animals here so you know what you’re dealing with. It can teach you combat techniques so that, when someone does wander into your territory, you can fight them off. And, ahem, it will teach you magic, which can help in any number of ways.”

Magic. Magic. Well, it wasn’t like she could say magic didn’t exist. She’d seen the creatures flying across the sky. She’d seen the fireballs and the man walking through her forest, shooting lightning from his fingertips. Whatever the creatures had been, they’d come with some sort of magic.

But they were creatures, and she was a human kid. A forest-dwelling human kid who swung from trees like Tarzan, but still a human kid. Her parents, assholes that they were, were humans.

“Nice candy,” she answered, instead of telling him she thought he was nuts. “Where’s your van?”

“My… ah. I assure you, I’m not trying to drag you off for some nefarious purpose. And all of the signs point to you having the genes that allow you to do magic.” He coughed. “Your, ah, real parents certainly could.”

Keita glared at him. “My ‘real’ parents are assholes. I met them. I lived with them. They’re not magical at all.”

“You lived with your biological mother and a man she married while pregnant with you. Your mother had some small prowess with a few magical things, but not enough, it seems, to save herself when the dragons came.”

Keita swallowed. “They’re dead?” She didn’t want to care. She didn’t think she did care. But it meant there was no going home… not that she would have, anyway. She hadn’t even when the winter had been awful. She wasn’t going to now that she knew how to survive.
“I’m afraid they are, your mother and your step-father both.”

Keita leaned forward, holding on to those words. “Step-father.” The asshole of assholes. Wasn’t her father.

“Step-father,” Reid confirmed. “As of my most recent information, your biological father is still alive. We could track him down, if you wanted. If you come with me.”

It was tempting. It was far too tempting. Keita leaned back, scowling. “But if I go with you… this forest isn’t going to stay unclaimed until I come back.”

“Well, then.” She was surprised to see that he was smiling. “I suppose that gives us four years to find you a better forest, doesn’t it?”

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Through the Forest

This is [personal profile] thnidu‘s commissioned continuation of In the Forest.
He was still following her. Keita didn’t know how that was possible, but every time she paused, moments later, there he was.

He was far too comfortable with the woods. People had tried to come after her before – first before the world started getting strange, and then later, their reasons less clear but their hunting no more skilled. None of them had moved like he did.

His feet fell with no noise. He broke no twigs. He left – when she double back – almost no track at all.

And he was still following her.

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In the Forest

written to [personal profile] wyld_dandelyon‘s prompt here. I’m still taking prompts if you have an idea!

There were footsteps in her forest. Keita shimmied up a vantage-tree and let herself slip into the foliage, camouflaged from the view of the few people that would think to look up.

A man walked through, skinny and wearing glasses, too clean for the forest, too tidy for the world outside. He looked around, muttering words to himself that Keita couldn’t quite discern, and then he looked up, through the foliage and directly at her.

“Keita Casarez?” His voice was still quiet, but it seemed like shouting against the noise of the woods. “My name is Reid Solomon.”

He knew her name. She didn’t move. She’d learned from the animals in the woods that moving was the dumb thing. You didn’t move until the predator showed that it was about to pounce, because maybe it hadn’t seen you yet.

“Keita, I’m not here to hurt you. I’m here from a school, a safe place, called Addergoole.”

She was safe here. She’d been safe here than she had been anywhere else, anywhere before she left. Keita stared at the man’s shoulder. His clothes were spotless. He looked like a scientist.

“It’s a small place, but it’s got running water and power still, and it’s safe. There aren’t any mobs, no falling buildings…

He seemed to have no problem talking to a blank spot in the trees. How had he found her?

“Your parents enrolled you, back before you were born. And you’re the right age to come to school now.”

Despite herself, Keita hissed. He nodded, as if not completely surprised by that response.

“All right, so your parents are not your favorite people. I can understand that. Nevertheless, they made a legally binding promise on your time.”

She scrambled down a few branches, still way out of reach but where she could see him better. “Screw that. Law’s dead. Nothing left of the government.”

“True. But fae law still holds.”

“Those freaks?” She snorted. “Nothing to do with me.”

He tilted his head. “How long have you been out here, Keita?”

“What year ‘zit?”

“2014, in August.”

“Season’s obvious,” she scoffed. She hadn’t spoken to another human in a while. She was surprised the words were still there. “Hunh.” He had to be lying. No, there’d been that first winter, which had been awful, and then the things – no, the things had started before that. Flying overhead. And she’d slept in a hollow tree with a stolen sleeping bag and prayed she didn’t freeze to death.

And then there’d been the second winter, and she’d been prepared. The camps around the woods hadn’t missed a few things she’d stolen, and most of them seemed pretty empty, anyway. It had been a colder winter than the first, but she’d stayed cozy in her nest, eating hoarded scraps.

The third winter, that had been mild, and she’d been hunting, but there’d been more people in her woods. She’d spooked some of them away and hidden from the rest…

…and it was the end of summer, so the fourth winter was coming.

“You’ve been out here three years?” The man in the too-clean clothes looked startled. Keita hissed at him.

“And I’ll be out here a lot more. Stay away, make everyone happier.”

She jumped up into the tree and darted away before he could answer, half-remembered fears jabbing at her mind.

Next: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1067958.html

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Priorities

Laurelia was in the library when the lady found her. She was deep into the science section, reading up on botulism and how to avoid it when your only food source was Mystery Cans Of Food From Before The War, taking notes and wishing (privately, because she’d never admit it out loud), that she’d paid more attention in class before the school blew up.

The polite clearing of a throat was so out-of place, she didn’t register it as real at first. It was her imagination, a librarian who was offended at her note-taking or the way she’d made a nest out of the books. It was that teacher she’d been ignoring back in classes – Mrs. Enil.

The second throat-clearing made her look up. There, in clothes that were clean and tidy – brown pants and a white silk shirt, boots and a jaunty hat – with her hair pulled back in a low bun and even her make-up perfect, was a librarian, offended at her note-taking.

Laurelia went back to her book. Clearly, she was going nuts.

“Laurelia Dziedzic, daughter of Amie Sanchez-Dziedzic?”

“Hallucinations are not supposed to know my name,” she informed the librarian. “Much less my… do you know where my mother is?” If it did, she could forgive it being a clean and well-dressed hallucination.

“I’m afraid not. However, your mother, when you were born, signed you up for an exclusive school some distance away from here, and, as fate would have it, the school is still intact.”

She looked up at the hallucination. She might not have imagined a librarian with such a wild look about her, just held in by the professional outfit. She might not have imagined an exclusive school. “Slavers.”

“I promise you, there are no slavers working for or employing my school, nor working with them.”

Promises were important. “Is there food?”

“There is good food. Safe food.” The librarian looked both amused and concerned. “Will you come with me, Laurelia?”

“You promise on the food?” She was already shelving the book on botulism.

“I promise there is good and safe food where we are going.”

“Then let’s go.”

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Sharing the Infliction, a story continuation of Addergoole

After Inflicting Change, beginning of Year 20 of Addergoole

“Director Regine doesn’t ever take Students. My mother said she never has.

Jack punctuated his words with lazy sneers and casual touches, patting Senka’s arm, shaking his head as if she was being foolish.

Senka pulled away. She had only been here for a week and a half, and she was already sick of Jack and the dozen others that were remarkably similar to Jack while looking nothing like him. “I did not say she had.”

“Your mother was wrong, anyway.” Perth was not like Jack. He was so completely not like Jack that Senka was unclear why he was friends with him, “crew” with the loud, obnoxious, self-satisfied, touching her again Jack. “She’s taken one Student. It was when my mom was here. Maybe your mom missed it.”

“Senka?” The Director’s secretary showed up just in time to forestall yet another fight between Jack and Perth. Senka wondered if Perth had seen the woman coming and timed it that way. “Director Regine would like to see you in her office after your magic classes today.”

“Thank you, Miss Hayley. I’ll see her there..” Senka barely resisted the urge to smirk at Jack.

She did, however, give in to the desire to gloat. “Perhaps,” she commented as they left the table for afternoon classes, “Director Regine will have one more student.”

~

Four students sat in the office, looking at each other. Two of the three, a boy named Mirek and a girl named Lianshi, were in advanced calculus with Senka. The third, a slender boy with lapis-blue eyes, she shared a Russian class with. Sumner.

They were alone in the room, despite having been called in by Director Regine. Senka, at least, was uncomfortable, and she could guess from the way that Sumner was shifting around that he was too. Lianshi was staring at the wall; Mirek was watching Lianshi – and Senka. Was every boy in this school prepared to be obnoxious?

“You’re all on time. Very good. That is a very good quality in a student.” Director Regine stepped into the office and closed the door behind her. “I am here to offer the four of you positions as my Students. I do not often take on new Students, but I have decided to make a change. You four would be my first Students in many years.”

“You want us to accept you as our Mentor?” Lianshi leaned forward. “Why us?”

“You are universally brilliant. You have at least one Grigori ancestor, which increases the chances that we will get along and be able to understand each other. And you have expressed in interest in one or more of my own areas of interest.”

“And why you?” Mirek was leaning back, looking like he was proud of himself. Senka rolled her eyes. “Why should you be our Mentor?”

“Well.” It struck Senka that the Director had not thought this through. “I am skilled and experienced in many things you have expressed interest in – the workings of Intinn, biology and genetics, mathematics and statistics.”

“No thanks.” Mirek stood up. “I think I’ll stick with Professor Fridmar. Thanks for the offer, though.”

He walked out, leaving Director Regine clearing her throat uncomfortably. “Well, ah, then. And the rest of you…?”

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Fuzzy on the Details, a random Drabble

So, I’m playing with the Roster and I said to myself, “who Keeps him, if anyone? Well, Janoah could. Now, I wonder how that went?”

So I wrote this.

The girl was petting him.

Ankara was… surprisingly okay with this.

She had a name. Janoah. Her friends – her Crew, that was the word – had used it. She had a name and, as far as Ankara could figure out, she Owned him now.

Ankara knew about Owning, although he was still a little fuzzy – ha, fuzzy; he’d turned into a fecking angora-rabbit-thing overnight – on the details, and he was very fecking fuzzy on how the mute girl had managed to Keep him.

But Kept and collared he was, and the girl was petting him. Life was pretty good.

Janoah has showed up before here; Ankara, here and here; this story is three years later for Janoah and four years earlier for Ankara.

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